Pietersen calls on young guns to fill breach

Kevin Pietersen is banking on England's other players to fill the gap caused by the loss of Andrew Flintoff for the rest of the summer.

The Hampshire batsman, who was in Manchester yesterday helping to promote the "Urban Cricket" initiative, was as surprised as the rest of the country by the news that Flintoff needs a second operation on his troublesome left ankle.

Pietersen heard the news when it was announced on Saturday, which will leave Flintoff on the sidelines for the next three months, ruling him out of the remainder of the Test and one-day series against Pakistan. He is also a major doubt for October's Champions Trophy in India.

"This creates an opportunity for the youngsters and creates opportunities for someone else to come in, do well and play for England," Pietersen said. "It will be a pretty big series to win without Freddie but we will be giving everything we can to beat Pakistan."

He conceded that missing Flintoff will be "a big blow, but injuries are injuries and it's just a case of wishing him well. We hope he will get himself right, to get back on that field for the Ashes, which he says he will do. He's a big influence on the dressing-room. He messes around and jokes about and he will be someone who is missed."

Alongside Pietersen in Heaton Park, near Manchester, was Pakistan's recovering fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who hopes to return late in the series after his own ankle injury. Shoaib bowled a few deliveries at Pietersen and the pair introduced the "Urban Cricket" game, which involves playing anywhere with a plastic bat and stumps, to local schoolchildren.

Pietersen said: "Shoaib is a lot more friendly with a soft ball, but he's still got that competitive edge, because he did chuck a couple of bounces my way - at least he didn't hit me."

Kabir Ali, meanwhile, has pleaded with the England selectors not to banish him to the international wilderness after his limited-overs experience. The Worcestershire bowler was included in the England side for the final two games of the disastrous one-day series with Sri Lanka and conceded 149 runs in 16 overs.

"I was disappointed with how it went with England - I would have liked to have done more," Kabir, 25, said. "I played two games when we were 3-0 down and [Sanath] Jayasuriya was seeing it like a football. I came back to Worcestershire thinking, 'I have no confidence, nothing at all'.

"It showed me just what a step up it is to that level. When players like Jayasuriya get going, it is quite hard to stop them. It's always nerve-wracking to play for England at any level but those were days when nothing went right.

"I have never known my confidence to be like that. Normally I am the kind of guy who doesn't let anything bother them. I want the ball and will go have a bowl and try to get wickets.

"I soon realised it was just one of those games. A few players went for runs and I was just one of them. I've gradually got my confidence back. I still feel I can do a job for England. When I played in my one Test match to date I felt I did well and got five wickets.

"Apart from the last two games, I feel I have done well for England. I would be very disappointed if they overlooked me just because of what has happened in the last few games."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam